IT security company F-Secure: Experts: Rising threat of attacks on energy networks

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Berlin (dpa) - The IT security firm F-Secure sees a growing threat of attacks on critical infrastructure such as energy networks and power plants. While hacker groups have hitherto mainly been prepared for attacks by states, the threat situation has developed further.

The skills formerly only available to countries were increasingly accessible to other hacker groups. The most prominent case of a cyberattack on industrial infrastructure is the stuxnet virus, discovered in 2010, which sabotaged uranium enrichment facilities in Iran. In particular, software for industrial plants from Siemens was targeted. The authors are western intelligence agencies. In addition, it is believed that a cyber attack from Russia was the trigger for a large-scale power outage in Ukraine in December 2015.

The energy industry is not sufficiently prepared for the dangers, warns F-Secure. "Many systems were set up decades ago, before Stuxnet and before a 24/7 Internet connection was common." The analysis of the attack attempts also shows that hackers who are active on behalf of governments, sometimes for years, to to invade a company's systems. The most popular method in this case was to tailor-made e-mails containing prepared content or links. F-Secure included nine hacker groups, including from Russia and Iran, targeting the energy industry.

ref: zeit